- North Korea holds election: 100% turnout, Kim Jong-un gets — 100% of vote
- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
SNYDER: Melo may be costly lesson for N.Y.
No one would suggest that Carmelo Anthony is equal to or better than LeBron James (except maybe Melo himself), and no would suggest that the New York Knicks had a shot at beating the Miami Heat. But looking at the superstars and their respective teams can be instructive for would-be players and wanna-be general managers.
First, remember that the Knicks didn’t want Anthony as much as he wanted them. He was the consolation prize after New York went all-in during the “Summer of LeBron” tour in 2010. The Knicks reportedly had James Gandolfini reprise his role as Tony Soprano for a recruiting video, knowing that James is a huge fan of the HBO series. The pitch also included testimonials from Willis Reed, Mark Messier, Reggie Jackson and Earl Monroe. Famous New Yorkers Spike Lee, Rudy Giuliani and Chris Rock took part as well.
When James made his “Decision” to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on South Beach, the Knicks‘ fate was sealed, seemingly along with the rest of the Eastern Conference. The Knicks responded by granting Anthony’s wish and bringing him to New York at the following trade deadline, sending four players, three draft picks and $3 million to Denver in exchange.
Anthony is an exceptionally gifted scorer, one of the game’s best. But he lacks other dimensions that make James the best all-around player. When a roster has limitations like the Knicks‘, it needs a few more talented players instead of a great one like Anthony, because he certainly doesn’t make his teammates better.
There are worse things you can say about a player, namely, that he’s no good at all. That’s not the case here. However, you have to wonder about Anthony’s ability to play on a championship team. I’m not talking about an NCAA championship team, which he did as a freshman at Syracuse. The NBA is a totally different level where prolific scoring doesn’t necessarily lead to victories.
James won the scoring title in 2008 and could win more if it really mattered to him. The same unselfishness (cowardice according to some) that draws him criticism also makes him a transcendent talent. Only Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain have a higher career scoring average than James‘ 27.6 points per game. And only eight active players - all of them point guards - average more than James‘ career 6.9 assists per game.
Considering Anthony’s tendency to be a ball stopper, ball hog and black hole, care must be taken in building teams around him. It requires a delicate mix of players who don’t mind lots of dirty work and little glory. Rebounding, defending, screening and passing the ball to Anthony are prerequisites.
That approach to basketball isn’t recommended, doesn’t bode well for the Knicks and rarely works out well. While NBA teams definitely need their stars, two and preferably three, a bad decision on the pecking order spells doom. And it’s a terrible decision if the team’s focal point is more focused on himself, as seems to be the case with Anthony (124 field goal attempts in the series, compared to 143 for the next three Knicks combined).
“We have to elevate our teammates,” Knicks center Tyson Chandler told reporters Wednesday after the Heat’s 106-94 victory. “I think we have to do a better job of getting everybody involved, getting everybody playing at a high level, and getting everybody focused on what we’re trying to accomplish.
“And we have to do that collectively,” he said. “It has to be a team effort. It can’t be as individuals, because when you play as individuals you don’t get very far.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Deron Snyder is an award-winning journalist and Washington Times sports columnist with more than 25 years of experience. He has worked at USA Today and his column was syndicated in Gannett’ 80-plus newspapers from 2000-2009, appearing in The Arizona Republic, The Indianapolis Star, The Detroit News and many others. Follow Deron on Twitter @Its_Ball_Good or email him at email@example.com.
- SNYDER: With John Wall’s return, Wizards’ blueprint beginning to unfold
- SNYDER: RG3, Junior Seau evidence of NFL’s negligent culture
- SNYDER: Alabama’s excellence built to last under Saban
- SNYDER: Russell Wilson beats RG3 at his own game
- SNYDER: Terp tested: Turgeon has team ready to take on ACC
Latest Blog Entries
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Investigators puzzle: How does a 777 jetliner just disappear into thin air?
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- CPAC 2014: Straw poll signals Paul-Cruz showdown
- Russia besieges Crimea as U.S. seeks diplomacy; Putin remains undeterred by Obama's sanctions
- U.S. deploys 12 F-16 fighter jets to Poland as exercise in response to Ukraine situation
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Spoiled-kid culture creates greedy adults
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- As Ukraine falls, Obama takes Key Largo golf vacation, Biden hits Virgin Islands
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again